31 December 2008

Sex and Lies!!!

Stop the presses!!! Here is a new headline classic for ending this year "Many Teens Don't Keep Virginity Pledges" Wow, so the abstinence only education plan and the virginity pledges promoted so robustly by the whacko religious right doesn't work. Big surprise there. I think maybe one of my most favorite quotes in this little news piece is one by Janet E. Rosenbaum; for those of you who do not know, she is the lady who ran the study that revealed this little shocker. She said, "Strikingly, pledgers are less likely than similar non-pledgers to use condoms and also less likely to use any form of birth control."

Got that boys and girls? The vaunted virginity pledgers are even less likely than their heathen counterparts to use any form of birth control! For me that ranks right up there with the Promise Keepers. Remember them, the group that REQUIRES women to submit to their husbands? If you like, go here Promise Keepers Myth and Fact, to read a woman's take on them. Those guys are just as dangerous as the morons who think teaching abstinence only is effective.

I have long been an advocate of sensible sex education for children starting in middle school. I agree with Planned Parenthood in that sex education teaches children the facts and better prepares them for the realities of life. I love the uber-right whackos out there who denounce this by saying it will encourage kids to have sex. Here's a news flash for you, teens are having sex!!! Better to educate them on how to protect themselves than keep them in the dark about sex, believing that just telling them not to do it will suffice.

And just for good measure, let's pay a visit to a staunch advocate of abstinence only education, Sarah Palin. Seems her TEEN-AGE daughter just gave birth! Ok, so she is 18 now; she was 17 when she became pregnant and while there is nothing that says she took a virginity pledge, it is not a big stretch of the imagination that whacko Palin's daughter made one. The best part of this is conservatives PRAISED them for keeping the baby...not even a word about the unprotected sex her daughter was having as a teenage minor!

Here again, we see the hypocrisy and idiocy of the religious right and the conservative movement. They bury their heads in the sand about teen sex, espouse the belief that women are inferior and must submit, oppose common sense sex education, birth control and abortion yet they blame the liberal left for teens having sex. Is anybody else scratching their heads here? Personally I think the Religious Right is an organization of half-educated doofi clinging to a book of fairy tales and their own warped views trying to force everyone else to see it their way; kind of like another extreme religious organization...I think you know who I am talking about...praise Allah.

22 December 2008

Happy Holidays

Okay, okay it’s the holidays; time for eggnog and home-baked goodies, family and friends; time for good cheer and well-wishes, hugs and kisses, kids and Santa. It is also a time for reflection and introspection; for the religious it is the most sacred time, the time of commemoration of Jesus’ birth; time also for Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Muharram, and Winter Solstice, for people who are not Christian. Even for the atheist and agnostic, it is a time when people should get together and enjoy each other’s company; a time when everyone is just a little nicer, a little more pleasant, a little more patient. Still, there are those out there who will try to make your holiday less pleasant than it should be.

There is the story of the Wal-Mart worker being trampled by an unruly “Black Friday” crowd in New York. There are stories of thieves and muggers preying on the blissfully unaware in mall parking lots. I’ve read the stories of evil doers around the country who will stop at nothing to take what is yours and make it theirs. Yes, I know there is evil in the world and we must all beware; but those evils are nothing when compared to the most insidious evil there is...the television commercial.

I get aggravated with all the commercials this time of year. Seems to be this is the time of year when we discover we cannot be happy unless we have that new car, jewelry, electric razor (seriously, does anyone think a razor is a good gift?), latest gadget, alcohol, sex (have you seen the Victoria’s Secret commercial, or for that matter Arby’s laughable attempt to sexualize their chicken cordon bleu sandwich?) I mute the idiot box when the commercials come on so I don’t have to hear yet another sound bite selling me something. I don’t need a GPS because I know how to read a map; I don’t need the latest whiz-bang, gee-whiz gizmo when I have perfectly working stuff I don’t use often enough now. Can somebody please stop the stupid “He went to Jared’s commercials”?

Seriously fellas, if your woman is going to go gaga because you went to THIS jewelry store chain instead of THAT jewelry store chain, it’s time to reexamine priorities, right? We are going to be bombarded with saccharin sweet, get me diamonds or else commercials until May. Christmas, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day; how much jewelry does the human female really need anyway? Let’s look at it from another perspective; do we really need a new Lexus, Mercedes, Honda, F150 to make the holiday complete? With all the stories of economic downturns, financial hardships, bankruptcies, foreclosures among the woes of our society today do we REALLY NEED more stuff?

My wife and I made a pact years ago we would not go overboard with the Christmas presents every year. Yes, there was the occasional holiday season when she got earrings or a tennis bracelet and they were paid for before they were given (purchased at a LOCAL store, no chains) There is still the occasional holiday where there are one or two extravagant gifts, this one being the season of the motorcycle lift for yours truly (YES!!!) But, for the most part, we keep our spending in check this time of year. This year we decided to do more for our fellow man as our Christmas gifts…a check to the local food bank and maybe an angel off the tree of needy seniors or kids and Christmas cards to the troops; baked goodies to the neighbors and the occasional bottle of wine or 12-pack of premium beer. I am not trying to toot our own horn here, just trying to extol a little common sense and sanity during a crazy time of year. By all means, if you can afford it, splurge on the big gifts or give big to charity but please don’t go broke!

Try to remember the men and women in our Armed Forces as well. A lot of them are a long way off putting their lives on the line to protect us and keep us free. If you are the praying sort, put a good word in with the Man upstairs to keep them safe and bring them home, ok? If you’re not the praying sort, keep them in your thoughts, wish them well and hope for their safe return. No matter your political or religious views, they are over there giving you the greatest gift any human can give another. Remember that and thank a veteran when you meet them. Everybody have a wonderful holiday season and a healthy wealthy and Happy New Year.

20 December 2008

Don't Help Me Or I Will Sue!!!

What is this world coming to? The California Supreme Court said Thursday that a woman who rescued her co-worker from her crashed vehicle can be sued because the care she rendered wasn’t medical. Their reasoning for this is that according to the Supreme Court rescue efforts are the responsibility of trained professionals and not civilian bystanders.

Here is what happened; Lisa Torti and Alexandra Van Horn were department store cosmeticians who attended a Halloween Party in 2004. Evidently they left the party in separate cars and Van Horn’s car ran into a light pole at 45 mph. Torti, in her court testimony, said she saw smoke and liquid coming from Van Horn’s car and was worried the car was going to explode. So, what did she do? She pulled her co-worker from the wrecked car and most likely saved her life; except for the fact that Van Horn claims she was rendered a paraplegic because Lisa Torti “treated her like a rag doll” when pulling her from the car. Van Horn sued and the California Supreme Court says she can sue. All I can ask is what in the hell are they thinking?

You would think this was a one-time occurrence but you would be wrong. In 1997 truck driver Bob Tucknott was driving a semi full of U.S. bulk mail from Forest Park, Illinois to Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Interstate 94 when Laura Spero's car collided with the trailer. Spero’s car became stuck under the trailer and caught fire. Tucknott stopped the truck and helped Spero and her 4-year-old son, Cody, out of the burning car. Laura Spero decided to sue Bob Tucknott for damages. Again, all I can ask is what in the hell was she thinking?

I started to research the phenomena of people suing the Good Samaritans that helped them and had to stop; the list is endless! In Los Angeles two guys rescued a pregnant woman from her burning car following an accident; they were sued by another woman who claims they ignored her cries for help to help the pregnant woman! There are so many stories I have found on this topic I can’t even list them all! So, the only conclusion I can come up with is that even though states have enacted all kinds of laws to protect Good Samaritans there will always be some slimeball personal injury attorney looking for a quick buck who will sue.

I can’t even imagine the gall it takes to file a lawsuit against someone who acted to save my life. On the other hand I can no longer imagine any situation where I would lift a finger to help someone in an emergency, would you if you thought that person could sue you? People bemoan the downfall of our society and wonder who or what is to blame; they can start by blaming the personal injury attorneys, in my opinion.

17 December 2008

God Bless the US Navy




Ok, so these are the ships I served on in my 20 years in the Navy. Figured I talked about them long enough that it was about time I showed my "uninformed" friends what each ship looked like. For the record the Newport, Antrim and Kilauea are all decommissioned and out of service. Like I said earlier, I would share stories with you so this is the first part of my Navy story. If you would like to know more about each ship, you can Google each name and find its generic history. If you want a little more personal side of each ship, leave a comment asking and I will share a story here in another post.
I hope you find this interesting, I loved every part of my Navy career.

15 December 2008

We Gotta Keep America Strong!!!

I just received a "joke" email from my Aunt today. Here is the "joke" if you want to read it: "Joe Smith started the day early having set his alarm clock (MADE IN JAPAN) for 6 am. While his coffeepot (MADE IN CHINA) was perking, he shaved with his electric razor (MADE IN HONG KONG). He put on a dress shirt (MADE IN SRI LANKA), designer jeans (MADE IN SINGAPORE) and tennis shoes (MADE IN KOREA). After cooking his breakfast in his new electric skillet (MADE IN INDIA) he sat down with his calculator (MADE IN MEXICO) to see how much he could spend today. After setting his
watch (MADE IN TAIWAN) to the radio (MADE IN INDIA) he got in his car (MADE IN GERMANY) filled it with gas (FROM SAUDI ARABIA) and continued his search for a good paying AMERICAN JOB. At the end of yet another discouraging and fruitless day checking his computer (MADE IN MALAYSIA), Joe decided to relax for a while. He put on his sandals (MADE IN BRAZIL) poured himself a glass of wine (MADE IN FRANCE) and turned on his television (MADE IN INDONESIA), and then wondered why he can't find a good paying job in AMERICA."

I love my Aunt, I really do but when she forwards me emails like this, I have to shake my head. I don't think she actually reads them, she just forwards them; why do I think this? Because my Aunt is a really smart lady and if she did read these, she would delete them and shake her head.

Let me break this email down for my loyal readers out there (all four of you, LOL). First, let's ask the question of why all these things are made overseas. My first point is American labor is too expensive so any company that wants to make any real profits is going to move their manufacturing overseas where the labor is cheaper. Before you run out and condemn the evil companies, let's go a bit deeper. An American manufacturing company has to show a profit in order to pay its shareholders. If shareholders do not make money on their investments they will sell their shares. If too many investors sell their shares, the stock price goes down and guess what happens...the company ends up in Washington pleading for a bailout.

People are too quick to condemn the CEOs (yes, I know at least some of our current predicament is the result of crooked or incompetent CEOs) without looking at the whole picture. Who are the shareholders of these companies; they are everyday people like you and me. If you are anywhere near the television, newspaper, internet you already know the stock market is pretty much in a shambles because nervous investors keep selling off their shares trying to cut their losses. So companies move their operations overseas desperately trying to stay solvent and profitable; they have a better chance over there because labor overseas is about .20 cents a day vice the $8 to $20 an hour they pay over here in non-union plants. In union plants the labor costs skyrocket up to anywhere between $30 to $100 an hour. So, with that knowledge, how can you blame the company for trying to stay profitable and pay their shareholders in order to keep the stock market afloat?

SO let's go even deeper into this email. The government and the people have been griping for years about companies outsourcing jobs overseas. So, what are they doing about it to stem the tide? They are doing very little, it seems; in 2004, the Thomas-Voinovich Amendment which was contained in the omnibus Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2004, imposed a temporary and limited ban (the law contained a one-year sunset clause) on offshore outsourcing in certain federal agency contracts. That's all folks; that is all that was done by the Republican Majority in Congress to stem the tide of outsourcing jobs overseas.

Then, just last year (AFTER the Democratic takeover), Representative Jason Altmire (a DEMOCRAT Representative from Pennsylvania) introduced the Call Center Consumer’s Right to Know Act. What this act would do is require each employee of a call center to identify the location of the center to individuals located in the United States who have called or received a call from the center. Then Peter J. Visclosky (another DEMOCRAT Representative from Indiana) sponsored the Fighting for American Jobs Act of 2007. What this act would do is "prohibit businesses that lay off a greater percentage of their U.S. workers than workers in other countries from receiving any federal assistance. In particular, the bill includes provisions requiring businesses to report annually to any federal department or agency from which it receives financial assistance." Got that kids; this act keeps businesses that push the majority of their jobs overseas from getting any federal money.

Seems the BIG BAD DEMOCRATS have been the ones fighting for American jobs. The GOP has done squat to fight for American jobs but the majority of Americans seem to like the right-wing "conservative" politicians...is it "because my pastor told me so"? Let's go a little further here; California Governor Ahnold (a REPUBLICAN) has vetoed almost every anti-outsourcing bill that has crossed his desk while in New Jersey, Governor Richard Codey (a DEMOCRAT) signed into law what is considered by many to be one of the toughest anti-outsourcing laws in the country. Gee, yet again the BIG BAD DEMOCRATS are passing laws aimed at keeping jobs here in America while the Right Wing Whacko Party (oh, excuse me, I meant to say the Republican Party) is doing everything they can to let companies outsource jobs!

In a pure business sense, it looks as if the Republicans are trying to keep companies solvent and profitable so they can pay their shareholders and keep Wall Street humming along and it looks like the Democrats are trying to force companies to stay and pay the outrageous labor costs we have bemoaned here and in other blog posts. Wait, do you hear that screeching sound? That is the sound of the brakes being slammed in order to stop this trainwreck and analyze the data objectively. Do any of you right-wingers understand that by supporting Republican politicians, jobs are going to keep going overseas? Oh, so now you say that's good because companies can stay in business and pay shareholders and such, huh? You still hate the Democrats because they are trying to ruin your country? Why, when it has been Dems passing laws and fighting for American jobs to stay right here?

I guess I will never understand the right wing mentality. The Republican Party is on the side of big business while the Democratic Party has always fought for American Labor...but we don't like American Labor because the unions have forced labor costs through the roof making it cost prohibitive to make stuff here in America...but we want the jobs to stay here in America...but we hate the Democrats because they back the unions and American Labor...but we don't want to pay the high prices for goods made in America when the stuff made overseas is cheaper...but we hate the outsourcing of jobs overseas so we vote for the Republicans....but the Democrats are the ones fighting for our jobs...but we can't vote for them because they're anti-Christian, anti-gun and they love the gays...but they are the ones fighting for our jobs...but we can't vote for them because we can't have gay marriage...but the Republicans are against gay marriage so we will vote for them...but they're letting companies move jobs overseas which takes away our jobs...

It's a mad little merry-go-round, isn't it?

12 December 2008

Of Automobiles and Unions

The Senate killed a $14 billion dollar bailout package for the Big Three automakers last night. The reason it was killed; the United Auto Workers refused to give concessions in the form of wage and benefit cuts. I only have one question for the UAW, WHAT???

This is the same UAW that wants the government to bail out the industry so the automakers won’t have to file bankruptcy. Why not? Because under bankruptcy proceedings a judge could order the union contracts to be renegotiated. Wow, so if GM were to file for bankruptcy then they could get out from under their union contracts and become more competitive; sounds good to me so why not let them file bankruptcy? Because the UAW wants its workers to keep their high wages and unheard of benefits packages, that’s why. In a time of economic crisis when most Americans are cutting their spending, conserving and trying to save, UAW wants their members to not have to do that. They should be able to keep spending like its going out of style and enjoying a standard of living we can only dream of.

The average hourly labor costs for the Big Three break down something like this; Chrysler spends about $75 an hour, GM $73 and hour and Ford $70 an hour. The average hourly labor cost for ALL OTHER private sector workers combined is $25 an hour. Is there anybody out there besides me that is surprised, shocked and angry at this disparity? I mean I had heard rumors for years that autoworkers get paid way more than the average working stiff but this is ridiculous! It’s bad enough the CEO’s of these three went to DC the first time pleading poverty while flying in corporate jets but now we see what a racket the auto industry really is.

Now I know there are some out there who will argue that autoworkers don’t really get paid that much and to a point that is true. So let’s do what Paul Harvey always says, no listen to the REST of the story. According to the Heritage Foundation, even though the number they quoted is not an hourly paycheck wage, it is a combination of pay and benefits. Here is a brief breakdown; GM pays about $30 an hour on average while the rest is broken down into medical, dental, life insurance, disability, Supplemental Unemployment Benefits (this is a neat little golden egg, if a worker is laid off he receives his FULL PAY), pension plans for active employees, unemployment compensation and payroll taxes. GM has approximately 3.8 retirees or dependents per active worker but those retirees are not included in that $73 an hour we talked about earlier. No, if they were to include THOSE benefits the labor cost estimate would be A LOT higher than $73 an hour. The UAW, on the other hand, makes the assertion that the labor costs quoted do include those retirees but they have NEVER provided any solid evidence to back that claim.

So why should we the taxpayers have to support those kinds of compensation packages when we only get a fraction of that? Some will argue to me that feeling is sour grapes and maybe it is but I just do not understand how those jobs can justify those wages. I know talented, knowledgeable technicians who make less than $20 an hour. These are people who have been through some of the hardest technical schools in the country and have been in the industry for many years. The average autoworker, on the other hand, does one specific job routine (which usually does not require much in the way of brainpower or education) and is making closer to $75 an hour. So let me ask my first question again, HUH??? My solution to this problem is this; let the automakers go bankrupt. This way they will be forced to restructure in order to cut costs. Yes, that would leave the UAW in the cold and I think that is a good thing. Unions are pricing American labor out of the labor market; companies are outsourcing so they don’t have to pay for that labor. The unions are dinosaurs that have lived past their prime; it is time to put them out of our misery.

10 December 2008

Sometimes I Miss the Navy

Okay, as you can see in my profile, I served in the US Navy for 20 years. I recently retired from active duty in April 2007 and I am trying to fit back in to civilian life. There is a fair amount of difficulty adjusting to civilian life; for example what a civilian calls a floor, wall, ceiling, water-cooler, or bathroom I call a deck, bulkhead, overhead, scuttlebutt and head.

The Navy is full of unique terms like these; it is in the Navy the phrase "Cup of Joe" was coined, in reference to Chief of Naval Operations Jocephus Daniels who, in an attempt to placate his temperance wife, banned alcohol from Navy ships. The result is the United States Navy is the only Navy in the free world that does not allow the consumption of alcohol onboard ship, which is a tragedy of Elizabethan proportions if you ask the average sailor.

The Navy has also given us a very unique way of life; most of you civilians out there will not understand some of these references but all of the old salts I know will get a chuckle out of these. This is a short list of suggestions on how to simulate Navy life, courtesy of Elmer Venzke. Some of the ones he missed are, 'Invite forty or so bikers to take hammers and mallets and pound on your roof for 5 days straight, extra points given if they do it at midnight while cussing as loud as they can.' Another good one I like is raise your bed to within 6 inches of the ceiling and place an alarm clock such that it will go off right in your ear and set it for random times throughout the night.

The hardest thing about transferring from Navy life to civilian life is my "sailor's language". Through the years I learned a colorful vocabulary sailing on these fine Naval warships; so colorful in fact that when we moved to Mississippi, I almost gave one of my neighbors a heart attack! Still, I have calmed somewhat and I am indeed glad and relieved that my tattoos can be easily concealed by a short-sleeve shirt. I'm not saying I am embarrassed by my tattoos, but I do recognize that visible tats can definitely affect one's hireability.

I had a lot of fun serving in the Navy; I don't know any sailor who can say it wasn't at least some fun. Still, I do miss the call on the 1MC, "Underway, shift colors." Sailing around this blue-green marble we call Earth has left me with many many memories. Maybe one day I will share a few stories with you, if you ask nice...

09 December 2008

Born in the USA

As of Monday December 8th, the Supreme Court has decided it is not going to entertain a case questioning Barack Obama’s citizenship and subsequent eligibility to serve as President of the United States. Obama’s campaign made his birth certificate public in June; the certificate shows Barack Obama was born in Honolulu, Hawaii at 7:42 pm on August 4, 1961. The Hawaii Health Department Director, Dr. Chiyome Fukino, verified the birth certificate as real. Independent auditors from Factcheck.org, a non-partisan political website, examined the birth certificate and verified it was indeed valid.

Still, there are claims around the internet that the certificate is false, it doesn’t have a raised seal, it isn’t signed, etc. Conservative pundits are still to this day making claims Obama is not a citizen. Leo Donofrio, a retired attorney from East Brunswick, New Jersey claimed, “Since candidate Obama was born to a Kenyan father, he is not eligible to the office of the President since he is not a natural born citizen…” in a petition he filed to the Supreme Court. Donofrio originally petitioned the court for a stay on November 3rd but Justice David Souter rejected it. Then Donofrio sent the petition to Justice Clarence Thomas who passed it along for consideration. Pennsylvania attorney Philip J Berg, a former state deputy attorney general, has also filed a lawsuit challenging Obama’s citizenship. Berg has also filed other lawsuits including a conspiracy theory lawsuit alleging George W. Bush had a hand in the 9/11 attacks.

It takes a consensus of at least four Supreme Court Justices for a case to be put on the docket to be heard. Donofrio’s case was wholly rejected by the court. The court has not yet debated Berg’s lawsuit although a federal judge in Eastern Pennsylvania already threw the case out on the grounds Berg has no legal standing to file such a suit. In other words, even the Supreme Court, which is more conservative now than in recent memory, thinks the Donofrio case is ridiculous and does not deserve to be heard. So, it should be safe to assume the Supreme Court will throw Berg's case out as well.

For any reasonably intelligent human being, this case is settled. Constitutional law is specific on the requirements for US citizenship; the law states anyone born inside the US, anyone born in a US possession if one parent is a citizen and lived in the US for at least one year, and anyone born outside the US to at least one US-citizen parent who has lived in the US for a minimum of five years is a natural born US citizen. So even if Obama was born in Kenya, his mother was a US citizen and had lived in the US for at least five years. If Hawaii was supposedly not a state as some have claimed (which is ridiculous, Obama was born in 1961, Hawaii became a state in 1959), his mother is STILL a US citizen and had lived in the US for at least a year.

So how do any of these arguments hold water? How can conservative activists and pundits think their arguments are valid? Do they think Constitutional Law only applies to candidates they like? Aren’t some of these pundits the same pundits who have opined that the guvahnatah in California should be allowed to run for President…DEPSITE the fact he was born in Austria to Austrian parents and is NOT a natural born citizen? Maybe we can make the argument the conservative movement is populated by conspiracy theorists who should put their foil hats back on. Come on fellas, take your anti-psychotic meds and come back to reality, ok?

08 December 2008

The Scourge of the Cell Phone

Okay, so the topic of cell phones and driving has been a pet peeve of mine for a long time. I just do not understand what possesses people to yak away on their cell phone while barreling down the highway in what amounts to a speeding death machine. Alas, all I can do is write about it and express my opinions so here are my opinions for your reading pleasure...

You see them everywhere. The loudmouth in the restaurant, the person that almost ran you off the road, the oblivious idiot treating the cashier like a servant. People and their cell phones, a ruination of a once polite society. When I was a kid, there were no cell phones; we had a rotary dial phone and if you wanted to make a call when away from home you used a pay phone. Sure car phones were around but those were reserved for the rich people...and Jethro Bodine until he ran out of phone cord.

Cell phones are everywhere now; it seems that every person over the age of 4 has a cell phone. With this wonderful invention comes a little condition I call "cellphoneitis" This condition manifests itself in otherwise normal human beings and transforms them into morons. It is a debilitating condition that renders its victim unable to recognize others, regulate their own voice, drive, walk, eat, order food, etc. It starts innocently enough; a person gets a new cell phone and declares it will only be used for emergencies. Ah yes but, the service provider entices this person with cool add-ons like texting, internet browsing, television, music and games! Cool, our subject thinks, I can listen to my idol Barry Manilow while I am at work!

Then the disease attacks; suddenly the phone becomes more important than paying attention to driving. The compulsion to hold the phone to the ear and chat about absolutely nothing to the friend you just saw at school/work overrides the common sense that is screaming, 'WATCH OUT FOR THAT CAR/MOTORCYCLE/BICYCLE/PEDESTRIAN!!!!' Cellphoneitis is a debilitating condition that can only be cured one way; take the phone away and destroy it.

I don't know how clear I can make this so I will just say it; a car is not a phone booth. When driving, you have to pay complete attention to everything that is going on around you; if you do not, then your vehicle becomes a deadly weapon because you are barreling down the road and chatting away with whoever it is people talk to. Who or what could possibly be so important that you would risk other people's lives?

But enough of the very inconsiderate killer in the car; let's now turn our attention to the cell phone talker in the various public areas around this land. I'm sure we have all had the unfortunate experience of mister or miss loudmouth in the coffee shop talking rather loudly about their Aunt Edna's kidney stone or telling their stockbroker to sell that thousand shares of whatchamacallit corporation. These people really compel me to ask the question; are you truly that vain and vapid as to think the whole world really wants to hear the intimate details of your life? Do you really think it makes you look important when, in reality, it makes you look like an ignorant doofus?

Now I am not talking about the people who talk discreetly on their cell phones or excuse themselves when the damned thing rings. Usually these people are polite and caring; they understand how rude it is to answer your phone when in the middle of a conversation without excusing yourself. That and they recognize that others' time is just as important as theirs.

For example, the barista at the Starbucks waiting patiently for you to finish your conversation is not doing this to be polite; he or she is doing this because you need to give them your full attention when ordering. To sit there yakking on your phone in front of the barista/cashier/waiter/waitress, etc. is just rude. Has anyone noticed the signs popping up around various coffee shops and other businesses asking you to not talk on your cell phone when at the counter?

Personally, I think cell phones should have sensors that can tell when a vehicle is in motion or when the person is at a counter and they shut off during that time. Or maybe a device that identifies a vehicle with a cell phone yakking driver; maybe it can light up a sign embedded in the rear glass that says, "CAUTION, INATTENTIVE IDIOT DRIVER ONBOARD!" Maybe then the rest of us will be able to avoid the inevitable accidents.

Gimme That Old Time Religion

An atheist sign criticizing religion was stolen from a nativity scene set up on the grounds of the Legislative Building in Olympia, Washington this past Friday...ok, who can tell me how many things are wrong with this statement?

Well let's start with why is a nativity scene on government property? Do we really need to go into that old argument again? The liberal left screams about the separation of church and state while the religious right screams there is no such thing. Well, let's take a look at the First Amendment here: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

To me, that means no government entity can have a display of the nativity on government property; it's just that simple. Now before the "Christians" call for my public flogging let me make this clear; any government entity allowing a nativity or the Ten Commandments on government property is, to me, "respecting an establishment of religion". In other words, if that is the ONLY religious icon allowed to be displayed that government entity is favoring Christianity over all other religions.

Someone in Washington evidently felt the same way and put a sign up next to the nativity. The sign said, "At this season of The Winter Solstice may reason prevail. There are no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell. There is only our natural world. Religion is but myth and superstition that hardens hearts and enslaves minds." The Freedom from Religion Foundation apparently agreed with this sign and at least 25% of the population of Washington agree as well.

The issue here is someone stole the sign and dumped it in a ditch. Got that? A "Christian" broke the Eighth Commandment and stole the sign! The Christian Coalition of America evidently thinks that Christianity is the only religion in this country and anything else is heresy. After all, there was no menorah in the square nor any other religious icon other than Christian. According to the CCA's President, Roberta Coombs, "Although a number of humanists and atheists continue to attempt to rid God and Christmas from the public square, the American people are overwhelmingly opposed to such efforts..." Well I am the American people and I am not opposed to those efforts.

Don't get me wrong here, I put the nativity scene up at my home every Christmas; BUT it is on my personal private property where I have the right to display whatever I want to display. I do not agree, however, with public religious displays on public property. Just because I believe in God and Jesus does not mean the guy next door to me does as well. Roberta Coombs and her minions may want to think about that before starting their "Crusades"